By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY, NY-- No area of New York had a decline in unemployment between January 2012 and January 2013, the state Labor Department said Tuesday.
It's the second year in a row where not one area of the state had its unemployment rate drop.
State officials have argued that the unemployment is not a fair gauge of the state's economy because as the economy improves, more people are looking for work, and thus the unemployment rate increases.
In a report last week, the state Labor Department said the state created 29,600 jobs in January, a record 17 consecutive months of private-sector job growth.
The unemployment rate increases for some regions of the state were stark. The unemployment rate in the Elmira area increased from 8.8 percent in January 2012 to 10.5 percent last month.
The area had an economic boom after hydraulic fracturing occurred across the border in Pennsylvania, but it has been stung by a slow down in drilling, no decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on whether to proceed in New York with fracking and the closure of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. last December, which axed 570 jobs.
Between December and January, New York's unemployment rate rose from 8.2 percent to 8.4 percent. The national average was 7.9 percent.
In January, 35 counties had unemployment rates above 10 percent, compared to 25 that did so in January 2012, the labor statistics show. The highest rate was in the Bronx at 13.4 percent. Other top unemployment rates were in rural counties, such as 12.7 percent in Oswego County and 12.4 percent in Orleans County.
The unemployment rate in the Binghamton area increased from 9.8 percent to 10.2 percent over the year. It increased from 8.7 percent to 9.1 percent in the Rochester area, including up from 7.7 percent to 8.6 percent in Monroe County over the past month, the Labor Department said.
The rate increased from 8.5 percent to 8.7 percent in the Poughkeepsie area.
Tompkins County, home to Cornell University, had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.7 percent. Second was Putnam County at 7.3 percent and 7.5 percent in Rockland County.